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Is my Mother a narcissist?(13 Posts)
I am slowly coming to the realisation that the problems I have with my Mother stem from her and not me. Its liberating and terrifying at the same time. I have been reading about Narcissism and she does seem to fit some of the traits but then not others. I know it doesnt matter what 'label' she has but I think it will make me feel less guilty and perhaps stop hoping she will somehow change if I thought she couldnt help it?
Some examples of her behaviour:
She literally NEVER says sorry, if she thinks she may have gone too far the most you would get is a smirk and a shrug of her shoulders.
She is ALWAYS right, I once had a ridiculous argument with her about the fact skyscrapers sway in the wind. She would not have it. Even when I printed out some info from the internet to confirm that they do. She said I had made it up and the sources were wrong. She thinks the highway code is a 'suggestion' so she can drive how she likes.
I am never allowed any feelings. She split very acrimoniously from my father when I was 4 and I eventually lost contact with him when I was 15 (I wont defend him here, he is a complete arse of a man) but any discussion I have ever tried to have with her about how this has affected me is shut down with 'Why are you worrying about him? You are better off without him in your life' so I have never been able to grieve for that lost relationship/ connection. I have never felt like it was a valid reason to be upset.
She certainly gets 'the rage' if you disagree with her. She will shout and shout and scream and cry until you concede and tell her she is right. It is hell and means you try never to disagree.
She makes everything about her. When other family members have died over the years she has monopolised the grieving and forced the rest of us to do her bidding (I was made to serve food and drinks to distant relatives at my grandmothers funeral even though I begged her to hold the wake somewhere where we could pay for this service but she does love hosting a party)
Something I read on here - crap presents. Every Christmas and birthday (even since I was a kid) she has given me strange gifts. Last year she got me a 12 inch porcelain figurine of an angel. I have nothing like that in my house and if you knew me at all you would never think I would like it.
She thinks I am her belonging. When she split with my stepfather when I was 20 I was told I was no longer allowed to speak to him or have anything to do with him because I was HER daughter (this is a man I lived with for 14 years)
But then she doesnt seem to display any of the grandiosity traits particularly (although she does think she is more intelligent than everyone else) and she isnt too worried about her image which I think are pretty important to narcissists?
I think I am probably just looking for validation here so that I can feel less guilty about stepping back (she is good at playing the 'upset' card and has my sister as a puppet to tell me how distraught she is by my misdemeanours). Thanks for reading
Im 39 and she is 63. Its taken me a long time to get here!
I would say she probably is. You have my sympathies my ' mother' is exactly the same .
I've been nc for more than 20 years and I'm only getting some peace of mind now.
It's terribly damaging , looking back I wonder if I had some form of PTSD, I certainly had problems with nightmares of being back in that environment.
You won't change her.
Regardless of whether she is a full blown narcissist or not she is not a good person to have around you.
It is not your fault she is this way; you did not cause that to happen. Her own family of origin did that lot of damage. What if anything do you know about her own background? (Pound to a penny it was also chaotic in nature).
I would think you find it almost impossible to set your own boundaries with regards to her mainly because you have never had any. She really does regard you as an extension of her own self. Women like your mother as well cannot do relationships so the man in their lives is narcissistic himself or otherwise discarded. Both these men failed abjectly to protect you from her excesses of behaviour, they were weak bystanders. BTW do you speak to your stepfather despite her own "objections"?.
People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; you seem to be the scapegoat for all her inherent ills. Your sister seems to be the more favoured golden child here; a role itself not without price but she is unaware of that. I would back away from your sister as well. What you describe is all very characteristic of a narcissistic family structure.
I would not feel at all guilty about stepping back; you would not have tolerated any of this from a friend and your mother is really no different.
I would say she has an awful lot of characteristics and behaviours associated with narcissists generally.
A lightbulb has just gone off in my head. I think my Mum must be one too. Thanks for sharing your story, it's really helped me. Armed with the info how do we deal with them?
My parents split when I was 4 and then again a stepdad split when I was in my late teens. Uncanny.
NC Just isn't an option for me, I'd feel too guilty. I always end up capitulating which is learned behaviour I guess. I'm still about 8 inside. In reality I'm 50.
Thanks all, its so good to hear that its not my fault (bit ridiculous I need strangers on the internet to validate me but I suppose its because my parents never did!)
Attila - No I didnt dare try and contact my step father after she told me that, I knew the price would be too high. Yes you are right about her background. I suspect her mother (my grandmother) was a narcissist as well (she was much more typical and basically ignored my mother passing all parental responsibility to her for her younger siblings etc). She also had an absent father.
Lapinthe - Im sorry you are going through the same, I am also not sure if I can totally cut her off (though she currently isnt speaking to me so maybe we could just leave it at that!). I feel horribly guilty as I have spent my whole life being reminded that she is on her own and she did so much for me etc etc. My sister also back her up in this and gets increasingly upset at me as well until I capitulate. Its awful.
Im off to work now, Ill check back later but thanks so much again
My mum's upbringing was certainly chaotic. She was evacuated.
Goodness. You have described my mother. I have no doubt my mum has some sort of personality disorder. I detached from her once I got to a point that i couldn't handle her raging in front of my young child. She has said and done so many despicable things that I can't be around her any longer. I can now see how my dad has inadvertently been complicit because he put up with her shit towards us and himself for so long. He isn't confrontational. Given my strong need to protect my child from her, I clearly see I was never protected. It's been very damaging.
My DD and I are round about the same age group as you and your mum and if I carried on like that with my DD she'd let me have it full guns blazing lol.
Maybe you need to step back and just visit as little as possible without being rude and as for your sister maybe she has a go at you as she wants you to share the "burden" of your mum.
This is my mum. She is currently not speaking to me because my sister had an argument with her. I've no idea what the issues are or what anyone has said or done but I'm not involved in any way.
This is my mum too! Especially the boundaries thing. She drinks too much and whenever she was maudlin she always says "Doeskt matter what you do, you're MINE." It's v weird.
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